by Adrian Dorofte and Adrian Andronic
e-mail: mercedesbenzblog@gmail.com

The new Mercedes-Benz Actros: the very definition of a premium long-distance truck


The new Mercedes-Benz Actros haulage truck boasts a unique concept, which is primarily focused on long-distance transport. It will inherently be very attractive to customers just by looking at the sharp, unmistakable exterior, which is aerodynamically optimised, the warm interior that offers a living and working space like never before in a truck, the lighter and more robust chassis and the powerful Euro VI engines with low consumption. Before it was officially unveiled, the new Actros had to undergo a thorough series of outdoor testing, which sums up 20 million kilometres on the road alone - a record mileage no other new truck in the world was forced to endure during the development programme.


The Presentation of the new Actros in Brussels


Brimming with innovation and emotion. Easier on the environment than other trucks. Aiming for the very top in terms of comfort, driving dynamics and economy. Boasting outstanding material and build quality as well as the lowest overall costs. Not to mention irresistibly good looks. Yet for all these superlatives, the most important aspect for those responsible at Mercedes-Benz and for customers is the fact that it has been tested like no other truck generation before it. It is the first all-new truck to have been developed uncompromisingly under the "Trucks you can trust" premise. Among other things, this means that the new Actros has undergone 2600 hours of fine-tuning in the wind tunnel, 50 million kilometres of engine testing on test rigs and in real-life operation, and 20 million kilometres on the road.

The concept: fully focussed on long-distance transport

The main rival to the new Actros is its predecessor, which has set a very high benchmark over the course of 15 years and several stages of development, with more than 700,000 units sold during this time. The new Actros is following in illustrious footsteps, but its new concept signals a different approach: all versions of the new premium truck are uncompromisingly designed for long-distance transport. It now covers all long-distance applications, whereas previously this domain was served by two truck series, namely the Actros and the Axor.

At the heart of the new Actros is a modular system conceived specifically for long-distance transport: seven spacious cabs, five of which have a flat floor; innovative interior ideas such as the separation of the working and living areas; a new cockpit that is both functional and attractive; a new, high-torque, clean and exceptionally economical six-cylinder in-line engine with additional torque reserves; a new frame and a dynamic chassis; further enhanced safety. The new Actros is a veritable showcase of innovations.

It is the first and, to date, only truck which has been developed rigorously to comply with the Euro VI emissions standard. The figures certainly stack up: fuel consumption in the optional Euro V variant is around six percent lower than for the predecessor model. In the case of the Euro VI version, the figure is around three percent lower, combined with a reduction in AdBlue consumption of around 40 percent. Maintenance and repair costs are even lower than before, as evidenced by low-cost service contracts. And on the bottom line, the Actros model in each of the emissions categories has lower overall costs than all its competitors.

Exterior: unmistakable, with "flow", aerodynamically optimised

The unmistakable design of the new Mercedes-Benz Actros is as exceptional as the truck as a whole. Its look, developed specifically for a long-distance truck, is powerful, masculine and dynamic. At the front end, the face of the new Actros dispenses almost entirely with straight lines and flat surfaces. Curves along with contrasting concave and convex lines lend the new Actros an overriding aura of excitement and its own unique character.

The coherent form of the new Actros is particularly evident when viewed at an angle, as the full extent of the harmonious flow between the front section and the flanks can then be seen. The bumper, corner panelling and entrance form a single unit. Fluid lines are a hallmark feature of the new Actros – which is why designers often talk about "flow".

Much of the development work focussed on aerodynamics. The new Actros spent some 2600 hours in the wind tunnel – never before has a truck been developed and tested so intensively in a wind tunnel. Its aerodynamic design is one of major factors behind the reduction in fuel consumption compared to its already highly economical predecessor.

Interior: a living and working space like never before in a truck

A width of 2.3 or 2.5 metres, four roof variants and, without exception, the maximum length of 2.3 metres: behind these figures lies a modular system with a choice of seven different long-distance cabs. Whereas a flat cab floor was previously a hallmark of the exclusive flagship model in a truck range, no less than five of the seven cab variants for the new Actros now feature a flat floor.

The spectacular GigaSpace cab brings a whole new meaning to the word 'space', with a volume of 11.6 cubic metres, a flat floor, 2.13 metres of headroom and more than 900 litres of stowage space. At the heart of the interior is a concept which visually separates the easy-to-use cockpit from the comfortable living area using colour and geometric form. The functional area of the cockpit is finished in practical anthracite whilst the rear, ceiling and area around the co‑driver's seat are appointed in a light almond beige colour. High-quality surfaces, the luxurious driver's seat with optional massage function (from 2012), beds offering the comfort of home, a multifunction steering wheel, informative and attractive instruments, and asymmetrical roof stowage boxes are just some of the many aspects developed specifically for the new Actros.
Unique features include the new, optionally available SoloStar Concept for the new Actros, which creates an all-new calm zone and ensures maximum recuperation. This comfortable relaxation area on the co-driver's side is shaped like a corner sofa unit and is set back against the rear wall.

Powertrain: powerful Euro VI engines with low consumption

The all-new heavy-duty engines for the new Actros likewise set standards. From the outset, the new BlueEfficiency Power engine generation offers compliance with Euro VI. The first member of the new engine family is the Mercedes-Benz OM 471 six-cylinder in-line unit developing 310 kW (421 hp) to 375 kW (510 hp) with a torque of 2100 to 2500 Nm. A high torque, even at engine speeds below 1000 rpm, and almost peak output at 1400 rpm make for excellent driveability.

Four valves per cylinder control the two overhead camshafts. These are "composite" or "assembled" camshafts – a first for engines of this size. Another premiere arrives in the shape of the common-rail injection system with X-PULSE pressure booster. The maximum pressure in the rail, around 900 bar, is boosted to up to 2100 bar in the injectors and can be fully varied on the engine map. Charging is performed courtesy of a turbocharger with an asymmetric turbine housing, which improves response. The engine brake, a charged decompression brake, is designed to deliver maximum efficiency. This three-stage brake achieves a maximum braking power of 400 kW.

To meet the stringent requirements imposed by the Euro VI emissions standard, Mercedes-Benz has developed a complex emission-control system consisting of SCR technology with AdBlue injection without compressed air, cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and a particulate filter. Factors behind the engine's outstanding economy include its exceptional robustness and longevity as well as maintenance intervals of up to 150,000 kilometres.

In all models, the power is sent to the wheels through a third-generation Mercedes PowerShift fully-automated transmission featuring highly sensitive shift sensors for even faster and more precise response. Rear axles with longer ratios reduce the engine speed and, therefore, fuel consumption.

Chassis: feels more poised, more assured and lighter to drive than other trucks
The new Actros heralds a new area in driving dynamics for heavy-duty trucks. No other premium-category truck feels as poised, as assured and as light to drive, largely thanks to a new, wide and torsionally stiff frame designed specifically for on-road vehicles.

The fundamental design of the tried-and-tested axles remains the same as on the predecessor model; however, the developers have revised the axle control and suspension to enhance driving safety and ride comfort.

One of the decisive factors behind the exceptional handling of the new Actros is its new steering system, which delivers impressive precision and conveys excellent road feel, while the new retarder is more powerful as well as being lighter in weight.

Mercedes-Benz is once again ushering in a new era in assistance systems: the unique Proximity Control Assist system with stop-and-go function now even automatically controls starting and stopping in traffic jams – making the driver's job easier when driving through cities or in stop-and-go traffic.

Testing: 20 million kilometres on the road alone

Never before has a truck been as thoroughly developed and tested before its production launch as the new Mercedes-Benz Actros. The foundations for development were laid as far back as ten years ago, and Mercedes-Benz has spent five years testing the components and the complete vehicle. During this time, the new Actros clocked up around 20 million kilometres on the road, including intensive customer driving tests. On top of this, there were extremely rigorous tests on test rigs, torture-track tests and a series of other extreme examinations.

The real-life road tests covered all climatic conditions as well as extreme road conditions and gradients, ranging from an Arctic winter to an extremely hot desert climate. Real-life testing also included customer driving tests in the new Mercedes-Benz Actros.











Source: Daimler AG

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